“Each of us has a so-called masculine task, and each of us has a so-called feminine task. If our minds call up too literal a picture of these tasks, we may be ensnared either in imitation or adolescent rebellion. If we see them as the twin embodiments of life’s forms and dynamisms, we gain an enormous sense of the archetypal task before us. Our summons is both to be and to do; it is to nurture and to define; it is to be at home and to journey. If historically these energies and these tasks were delimited to specific genders, then everyone suffered an oppression of some vital part of themselves. Still, even for those who live in a deconstructionist age and can discern the mark of local time and place on such categories as gender, the ancient tasks remain to be lived in their timeless ways. (Hollis, Mythologems, pp 56-57)
Perhaps you can already see why I chose this photo for this post now that you have read the quote from Hollis. There is differentiation between the masculine and the feminine, but both come from the same root, the same source. Like these two leaves on a tree, separate but with neither able to exist without the source tree rooted in an even larger field, the archetypes exist separately within us individually and within us as a species. If anything, the archetypes are what have inspired us to be more than just another animal species that simply exist to procreate and keep the species from extinction.
The question of “WHY?” has always haunted me. From the early years of my life I have been on a journey of finding meaning an purpose for my own existence. Of course that has often had me ask the same question about the human race as a collective. ”Why? Why do we even exist?” Are we here, as biological entities in a drama of life and death that has the singular task of ensuring that future generations will come to be present? Is right and wrong only a question of what will allow survival of the individual and the species? I have never found an answer in the outer world regardless of how many courses, certificates, degrees or diplomas I have amassed. No answers came from books or from asking anyone who would sit still long enough to hear the questions.
Yet, when I finally dared to listen to an almost inaudible voice that came from something, someplace that was just outside of reality as I knew it, I began to sense there were answers. Or perhaps, better questions to be asked. Turning to inner spaces, to inner urges, I began to accept that all wasn’t to be found in the outer world. And so began a journey that I still find myself following. My dreams, and the resonances that ring within me through the voices of others let me know that there is more than just being and doing as a human animal. I am pulled into being and doing that demands more from me. For me, it is about becoming “whole” through acknowledging the vast unknown world of psyche and soul.
The journey has me battle the Great Mother and the Great Father, not so that I defeat these, but so that I can come to terms that their authority is my authority, that I am both of them. That knowledge doesn’t mean that I have more power over others, but that I am not a victim of my own darkness. At some point I will learn to love unconditionally – love myself and others. At some point the gymnastics of trying to bend myself out of shape or trying to bend others to fit my needs will be abandoned allowing me to be at ease with myself and with others. This is my archetypal task.